David Cameron: pity the poor holiday-maker

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David Cameron has expressed his sympathy over  the situation at Calais. As you probably know, some 4,000 refugees are living in camps at Calais and trying to board lorries to smuggle themselves into Britain via Eurotunnel. Last night a young man trying to do just that died. David Cameron, as I say, has been feeling the pain: “I have every sympathy with holidaymakers who are finding access to Calais difficult because of the disturbances there and we will do everything we can to work with the French to bring these things to a conclusion.” Home Secretary Theresa May has ordered up 1.2 miles of fencing – dubbed the ‘Ring of Steel’ – to secure each side of the platform at Coquelles.

Where do these refugees come from? A lot of places, including West Africa. And what do they all have in common?  War and poverty.  The UN  puts Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire among the poorest countries on the planet. Sierra Leone, in fact, come at the very bottom of 175 nations. Other refugees have fled poverty and war in Syria, Iraq and beyond. 

Two things are needed regarding refugees at Calais. The first is to address the source of the problem, which is political upheaval and poverty. You don’t stop massive poverty with over a mile of fencing. The second is to see the Calais refugee problem in perspective. There may be near to 4000 people in Calais camps, but over 60,000 people refugees arrived in Italy this year and the same number arrived in Greece. And the figures are due to rise. Compared to that, the number making it to Britain from Calais is microscopic. Professor Betts from Oxford University makes the point rather well:

“At the moment, the public debate has been exaggerated to see this as a UK problem. It’s not a UK problem, it’s a European problem and it’s a global problem”. What’s needed, he says, is less emphasis on cracking down on smugglers and more on “ensuring the human rights access and the humanitarian access to protection”  that these thousands of fleeing people need and are entitled to.

There are 100 million homeless people in the world and some 795 million people suffering from hunger. If we can have world economic conferences why can’t we have world people conferences?  Meanwhile, Britain’s reaction to the Calais manifestation of the problem is like a man with a noisy beggar at his door. He expresses sympathy with passing pedestrians, installs a security system and buys  a pair of ear-plugs.

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9 Responses to David Cameron: pity the poor holiday-maker

  1. George July 29, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    I have a huge amount of sympathy for these displaced people. What I can’t fathom though is why they are so desperate to come to Britain. Why not remain in France? That is supposedly a civilised Western European nation too is it not? Is that not a huge indictment on the French? I am intrigued to consider that if the French were to start rounding up the migrants and forcibly repatriating them would they then claim asylum in France if that was the migrants next best option? Perhaps that’s why the French don’t do that.

    • boondock July 30, 2015 at 6:30 am #

      Without any need for ID cards in the UK its alot easier to disappear in the system and find jobs and get paid on the black market. That is why the UK is so attractive. Jude is missing the point here the immigrants arriving in Greece and Italy are quite clearly desperate refugees including women and children fleeing war. The mob at Calais are mainly young men looking to work in the UK or enjoy the benefit culture. Its all fun and games until some truck driver or tourist is seriously injured or killed and there have been plenty of threats. I do find it amazing that something hasnt been done because the now daily disruption is costing millions.

  2. Iolar July 29, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    It says it all, the Home Secretary orders a ‘1.2 mile ring of steel’ at Coquelles while Baroness Wilcox gets paid £5,700 per month in expenses to walk the 200 yards from her £4.5 million pound home to the House of Lords. It has been reported that 124 members of the House of Lords, who live in London, claim equivalent allowances. There appears to be no problem finding £7 million for additional security measures at Calais.

    There are clarion calls to ‘send in troops’ in order to restore order and discipline. Treat the symptoms, not the cause. Perhaps it is time to examine the profits made by arms manufacturers and insist on compensation for ‘collateral damage’ arising out of the bombing of northern Africa and other war zones. The securocrats did not want boots on the ground in Africa and now have a problem with the thousands of poor souls at Calais.

    Perhaps it is time for the Labour Party to elect a leader who will galvanize the party into life again and use the channel crossing to create economic benefits for the whole of the European Community, not concentration camps at Calais. The alternative is more of Mr Blair’s New Labour legacy articulated at well financed after dinner speeches.

  3. ANOTHER JUDE July 29, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    Cameron, like any politician, is addressing his voting public, the mainly white aspiring middle class. He has no interest or sympathy with people he probably regards as less than human, the man was in the Bullingdon club, not too many non whites in that I wouldn`t think. My answer to the immigrant problem is to tell Saudi Arabia and the other oil rich Muslim countries to take in their fellow Muslims. Europe could then take in the Christian immigrants, that way there would be no problems with Jihadis.The fat cats have had it too easy, it`s tme they pulled their weight.

    • Iolar July 29, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

      Perhaps on his first birthday, the royal son might put one of his birthday presents up for auction, his brand new £18,000 Shepherd’s Hut on wheels, complete with wood burning stove and a day bed.

  4. Perkin Warbeck July 29, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    There’s more than a touch of the old deja vu, Esteemed Blogmeister, about the chaotic scenes in Calais these days. Of fowl coming home to rule the roost.

    Fiu, an feall ag filleadh ar an bhfeallaire / Even, of the foul returning to haunt the fouler.

    Back in 1870 only 10 % of Africa was under European control; by 1914 that had increased to 90 %. A recent photo in one of the Free Southern Stateen halfpenny dreadfuls of a certain Frank Feighan who, seemingly, is a Fine Gael TD for Roscommon, reminded one of that latter fact.

    Not so much for the look in his steely blueshirt eyes, one of which read To Hell, the other, Or to the Congo, but rather for the Poppy he wore in his lapel, proudly.

    The big dissection of the Dark Continent took place at the Berlin Conference in a year with truly pre-Orwellian premonitions: 1884. There, those European nations with imperial notions sat down to table to carve up sunny Africa like it was the Sunday Roast.

    No more than the cows, the chickens, the sheep or the pigs are consulted about the latter repast, the permission of the natives of Africa was not sought. It was a carve-up of monumental proportions that would surely have had such joiners up of dots as Daithi O Ceallaigh, by all accounts a former envoy of Eireland to the Court of St. James, licking his chops.

    All Rhodes, including Cecil, led to the raw material comfort zones of copper, cotton, palm oil, rubber, gold and the gals’ best friend. This led to the drawing of as many straight lines on the map of Africa, from A to B, as one would expect to find in a cursory glance through the geometry text book of Hall and Knight.

    For, ‘from A to B’ read Abyssinia to Bechuanaland.

    In 1916, there were other historic happenings of more enduring moment that the glorified street skirmish of Dublin. Such as when two mapmakers, Sykes and Picot, one British, the other French, both of whom had barely passed their geometry papers in their final school exams, took out their pencils and rulers on behalf of their rulers.

    And applied same to the map of the Middle East or Asia Minor and drew straight lines where concepts like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Palestine were to be located. They carried out their task of drawing straight lines with such efficiency that B. Balfour, Esquire, was heard to declare: ‘Bloody spiffing job you’ve done there, chaps’.

    The Men of La Manche

    Vera in her era did not of leaky chalets
    Speak, across that channel in Calais
    Straight lines go over
    Under water to Dover
    Make way for the Ultimate Action Replay.

  5. billy July 29, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    professor betts is probably sitting with his feet up earning a couple a grand a week,as for the ones dreaming about the giros flying in if they get through it should be up to france to ship them back and start again with new entry rules,theres no room at the inn as they say if all aid was stopped we wouldnt be were we are the day,

  6. Belfastdan July 29, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

    There are solutions to migration but unfortunately the major economic powers refuse to contemplate them.

    1. The arms trade has to be curtailed,
    2. Dictatorships should not be supported,
    3. The natural resources of countries should be for the benefit of their people and not for the enrichment of corporations.

    I don’t think that Europe can absorb the different religious, ethnic groups that are heading our way. Multiculturalism in a European context is a failed experiment, It is far better that people have better lives in their own countries than risking life and limb to end up at some squalid camp,

  7. billy July 29, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

    have to agree with your last part dan,these countries have getting millions over the yrs and their still at it,i remember in primary school getting envelopes collecting for the black babies wee heartstring photo on it,first blackman i seen had a flack jacket on he was on foot patrol in my street pointing a rifle ,